Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: Beez
- MSRP: Â£19.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: .hack//Legend of the Twilight
.hack//Legend of the Twilight Vol. #3
By Bryan Morton
July 04, 2007
Release Date: October 23, 2006
.hack//Legend of the Twilight Vol. #3
What They Say
Rena is trapped in a strange area, cut off from the rest of The World! No matter how she tries, she cannot contact her brother, Shugo... Meanwhile, Shugo has other things to worry about. He's become a wanted man and with the Cerulean Knights after him, searching for Rena has become almost impossible! Things look grim, but then our party gets help from an unexpected quarter! Now they must set out to boldly go where no player has ever gone before to save Rena.... and The World!
9 - Footsteps of Collapse
10 - Capital of Illusions
11 - The End of the World
12 - The Legend BeginsThe Review!
End of the line for Shugo, Rena and friends. Will Rena make it out of her strange isolation? Will Shugo be able to defeat the forces that are threatening to take over The World? Will Reki ever decide whose side he's really on? Just for once, an anime series actually answers its questions...Audio:
As usual, Beez provide a wide range of language tracks - Japanese, English, French and German - all in 2.0 stereo. I listened mainly to the Japanese track for this review. Audio is very clear " there's not as much emphasis on background music as there was in .hack//SIGN, so speech is always easy to pick out. There's not much in the way of directionality other than during more action-based scenes, but what's there is effective enough. There were no obvious problems.Video:
Video is presented in its original 1.78:1 format, enhanced for anamorphic playback. Twilight uses a more "cartoony" visual style than the previous .hack series, which means plenty of bright colours and a fair amount of detail in the backgrounds, all of which are captured nicely. There were no obvious encoding problems. Packaging:
Rena, Shugo and Aura feature on the front cover, looking remarkably cheerful given how this disc stars off. The rear cover features a series of screenshots along with the usual promotional passage and technical information. The cover is fully reversible, with Sanjuro, Rena and Shugo featuring on the reverse cover, while the alternate rear cover has episode summaries, screenshots, and the usual technical info. All very nice.Menu:
The menus are available in English, French, German and Dutch, selectable when the disc loads. Being a devout monoglot, I went with English. A series of clips from the show's opening sequence lead into the main menu, which features a further montage of clips and a static image of Balmung, striking an action pose. The opening theme song plays throughout, although it cuts off rather untidily if left for long enough. Submenus are provided for episode selection, language setup, extras and production credits, with static images of the characters used as the background for each sub-menu. There's a rather annoying transition animation between screens, which slows things down and quickly gets annoying.Extras:
Just the usual creditless opening and closing sequences this time around.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Led by Kamui, the Cerulean Knights' crackdown continues, with any character with the slightest modification being captured and deleted. With Shugo top of their wanted list, he's having to resort to using disguises to be able to move around town. No-one's been able to find any clues to Rena's location, either, until Reki makes use of his sysadmin powers to track her down. On the plus side, the Cerulean Knights are making progress in their attempts to track down the monster-modifying hackers, while Rena's making her own efforts to get out of the area she's found herself in - but Shugo's and the others first foray into the area where Rena seems to be draws the attention of both the Knights and the hackers.
The World's problems aren't just affecting players, either - with a large chunk of its staff in real-world comas after their confrontation with the AI behind the effect, CC Company's finally got a fair idea what's going on, although publicly, the incidents are being reported as the result of hackers interfering with the game. Reki's given the task of getting The World back to normal, and as a result he quickly realises that sysadmin powers, and the authority that comes with them, are severely over-rated. Shugo, meanwhile, refuses to give up on his efforts at rescuing Rena - but as Sanjuro points out, while he has the bracelet to protect him, the rest of the group don't. If they're going to continue working together, they're going to have to do it right.
Our bunch of anonymous teenage hackers certainly seem to know what they're doing, as the Cerulean Knights get dispatched with almost embarrassing ease, leaving the real-world players in comas. Their skills (or should that be skillz?) are largely thanks to their shaky alliance with the wandering AI known as Morti, who has a fascination with death " specifically with what it is. Since game characters never really experience death (respawning hardly counts), Morti hasn't had an opportunity to examine the phenomenon " but now she thinks she knows how to bring true death to The World, and it's up to Shugo and the others to stop that particular horror from being unleashed.
These final episodes do a good job of building up to the show's climax and in explaining exactly what's been going on. Reki's investigations help the gang find their way to Rena and to the final showdown with Morti " although Reki's constant switching of sides is nearly impossible to keep track of " and you certainly can't complain that any of the series' mysteries have been left unexplained. The big problem is pacing. Morti confronts Shugo and the others at the beginning of episode 11 " we then get a series of painfully slow scenes where Shugo figures out how Morti can potentially be defeated and confronts the ring-leader of the hackers, but while that was all playing out over the final two episodes I couldn't help but wish they'd just get on with it
- the whole sequence didn't seem to be much longer than 5-10 minutes of "real time", but was dragged out on-screen for far longer than it needed to be, to the point where a lot of the impact was lost.
A lot of the show's usual comedy was missing, too. For me, the humour was a large part of what made Legend of the Twilight its own show and helped it stand apart from .hack//SIGN, so the switch to a slightly heavier tone didn't do the show any favours, especially with this version of The World's bright, cartoony appearance not really lending itself to a serious story.
Given how many shows over the years have ended without tying up their loose ends, though, I'm not going to complain too much, as Legend of the Twilight at least tells a complete story, and lets the viewer have a decent amount of fun along the way. There are some fun characters here too, and a few nods to previous incarnations of .hack to keep the fans happy. It does have its flaws, but even the poor pacing at the end isn't quite enough to spoil the fun completely.In summary:
.hack//Legend of the Twilight stars of bright and comedy and gets darker as it goes along " and a final arc dealing with death is probably about as dark as you could get. It's carried along by a cast of likeable, fun-loving characters, but in the end poor pacing and an ending that's a little out-of-tone with the setting spoils the show a bit. That said, the story is properly tied up, and the series has far more rewatch value than its brother .hack//SIGN. Being "into" the .hack universe through the games and other properties obviously helps the show's appeal as well, but even if you don't, Legend of the Twilight has enough going for it to be worth a look.
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,French Language 2.0,German Language 2.0,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,German Subtitles,Dutch Subtitles,Creditless opening and closing sequences
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.